Health care is a basic service that the government should provide to its citizens. Healthy citizens can function productively and help in improving the economy. The people are also less likely to succumb to diseases in case of outbreaks because their immune system can fight off the infection with ease.
But over the years, health case costs are continually on the rise. Medicines, vaccines, and doctor checkups are becoming more expensive than ever. The big pharmaceutical companies continue to thrive as the health care system suffers from more budget cuts. Even health insurance has far less coverage but is more expensive than before.
Now, what happens when disaster strikes, like an outbreak perhaps? Are the government and the various health institutions prepared for such a scenario? Will they be able to control it and prevent further cross contamination or will we witness a bloody end? It is a scary reality as bioterrorism remains to be a threat from enemies of the state. American citizens can also get infected during travels in affected areas throughout the globe.
Is the world ready to defend against the next big infectious disease outbreak? It’s one of the biggest threats humanity could face. But experts who have reviewed reports on the global response to the massive Ebola outbreak that swept through West African countries for two years starting in 2014 say we’re “grossly underprepared” to handle a similar health crisis.
A team headed by Dr. Suerie Moon, director of research at the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, published their findings from a review of seven major post-Ebola reports in the medical journal The BMJ at the end of January. The team concluded that, while progress has clearly been made by the world’s governments and the World Health Organization (WHO), for instance, there are gaps that could still leave millions of people at risk.
In the event such an outbreak hits the U.S., will there be a large casualty? The answer is likely yes if the health care system does not receive the support and funding it needs from the government.
President Donald Trump is proposing big cuts to biomedical research as part of a budget to reduce discretionary spending at the Department of Health and Human Services by 23 percent — a move likely to provoke outcry from lawmakers, research groups, drugmakers and patients.
The proposal would cut the budget of the National Institutes of Health — which conduct and fund medical research — by $5.8 billion, or about 18 percent from 2017 levels. The Office of Management and Budget called the change “a major reorganization of NIH’s institutes and centers to help focus resources on the highest priority research and training activities.”
And the country’s population is also at risk of getting sick from the more common and widespread infections and diseases we have faced over the last few years.
A multibillion dollar federal fund that helps prevent disease outbreaks and fights chronic conditions may disappear with a Republican plan to revamp the Affordable Care Act, worrying local physicians and county officials who say they rely on the money to sustain community health.
The GOP legislation, as it was released Monday, proposes cutting a piece of the Affordable Care Act called the Prevention and Public Health Fund – a store of federal money created to bolster immunization rates, disease surveillance, workforce training and community health education, among other programs. If the replacement legislation passes, county and state agencies throughout California will lose millions of dollars they relied on for public health efforts. Those governments also used the grants to prepare for emergencies such as Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks, health officials said.
Even medical professionals are worried about the long-term consequences of these drastic measures to the poorer citizens of the country who relies on the government for support.
Chapman said county health departments use the fund for much more than education. The fund has provided more than $28 million in vaccine supplies to the California Department of Public Health, which county health departments rely on to immunize children and adults, Chapman said. Without free vaccines available, low-income families may vaccinate at lower rates, increasing the likelihood that once-common diseases such as measles and polio will return.
The fund also supports laboratory capacity at the state and local levels so health departments can more rapidly diagnose infectious diseases and quarantine people to prevent their spread. Testing capacity was an issue during both the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and the Zika virus outbreak last summer.
The proposed cut to the fund alarmed state Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, a pediatrician who called it a short-sighted move that could harm state and local efforts to respond to potential outbreaks.
“When you erode our public health infrastructure, it’s going to curb our ability to respond effectively and quickly to health and safety,” he said. “It’s all about prevention. We need the capacity to track down and fight contagious diseases. When we don’t, people get sick and die.”
It is too early to tell the effects of these policies being enforced by President Trump and the Congress. The health care system affects every single person in the country. People’s lives will be affected once the system can no longer provide the services they need because they do not have the money to fund it.